Monday, October 29, 2007

The Golden Compass--A blockbuster, atheistic film aimed at your children this December

What Hollywood giveth, it taketh away.

I have always been one to seek to find spiritual truth in popular culture, and to use this to direct people towards Christ. In recent years, there have been a host of spiritually themed movies that have come out, from the Passion of the Christ, to Narnia, to The Nativity Story. We have used all of these to help share the gospel. Even the Da Vinci Code proved to be a useful tool to affirm people's faith.

Coming out in December, however, is a movie called the Golden Compass, which is based upon a trilogy of children's stories. The author, Philip Pullman, is an avowed athiest, and he has written the stories in order to promote atheism. In the end of the series, the children, after many magical adventures, discover that there is no God. You can check out some material on this at:

Pullman has written has series because of his frustration at the low numbers of atheiests in the world. Despite the massive efforts of atheistic scientists and philosphers and the secularization of our culture, people still seem to want to believe in God. Very frustrating for an atheist.

So Pullman is attempting to reach children to bring about an atheist wave. Children, who naturally have a heart for God and believe in him so firmly and easily. I cannot think of many things more evil. Ironically, Pullman is going to the arts--books, movies, pictures--to accomplish this task. The arts have always been sort of a gateway to thoughts about God and the world beyond. In fact, exposure to the arts as a child increases the likelihood of greater spirituality in later years. Robert Wunthow, author of the book All in Sync: How Music and Art are Revitalizing American Religion, says that, "The childhood activities that so strongly predict adult spirituality are ones that bring the arts and religion together. Hymns and other religious music, memories of religious pictures or plaques in one's childhood home, and religious objects powerfully influence the likelihood that adults will be interested in spiritual growth." (p. 70)

Pullman is drawing on the Spiritual power of the arts in order to sell his atheistic views. The only way to get more people to abandon belief in God is to "inspire" them. Ironic, isn't it?

I am normally not for boycotting. It just gives the films, books, or whatever more exposure. But I can tell you that I will not be taking my 6 and 3 year old daughters to this film. As the above link shows, the film tones down the more atheistic elements, with the objective that kids will enjoy the films and want to read the books. Unsuspecting parents need to be made aware of this film's intent--promotion of atheism.

Have you heard of this film and book series?


Matt B said...

It is no secret that Hollywood isn't a big fan of God, unless they can mold God into something that fits their wants and desires. In this upcoming movie, the atheists strike back at the Christians who praise Narnia.

While I won't be taking my children to the movie (they are ages 5, 3 1/2 and 19 months), I will go see the film. Here's how I see it- lots of promo dollars will be spent, big named actors/actresses- people will be seeing this film. In order to open up dialogue, we can use elements of the film (although we know the writer's intent to preach against God) to engage in discussion with our non-Christian friends.

Do I plan to stand outside the theater debating the movie goers who come out of the show? No. I do have friends, non-Christian friends, who will be seeing the film.

Again, it provides an opportunity. An opportunity to talk about God, our relationship with him.

Matt B said...

Sorry about the last few paragraphs of my previous post. I meant to say that I won't be outside the theater preaching at people, but I will be talking to my friends and family members who see it. I want to ask questions, see what they thought and find out where they have been putting their hope. I know that hope is only found in Jesus Christ.

Thanks and God Bless.

James said...


I plan on taking the exact same approach as you. I won't take my kids, but I'll go myself so that I can know what is being promoted and can speak first hand about it. As you say, it can be a great opportunity to dialogue with someone about God.

Keep up all those evangelistic things you are doing, like spending time with your neighbors and looking for opportunities to share your faith!

MattSmith said...

I need to ask you both, have you read the books? OR are we just basing this off the internet?

James said...

Hi Matt. A fair question to ask. I have not yet read the books--I am planning on doing so. However, I have read (in another book) a fairly detailed cultural commentary on the book, as well as the authors' own statements. I was aware of these books before the movie came out or the emails that have been sent around started circulating.

After we have both finished the series, I'm sure we'll have more insight. Where are you in the triology?

MattSmith said...

I am about to finish The Golden Compass now, its been a good book so far with nothing really jumping out at me as anti-religion, but I am not very deductive I guess. They did say this was the lighter of the books, so we will see when I get into the other books.

MattSmith said...

Having now officially finished The Golden Compass, I fail to see where he is trying to sell Atheism at all. As I said before, maybe I am not as deductive as others, or maybe it comes down to me not wanting to chastise an atheist for his beliefs.

I will get back to you when I finish The Subtle Knife.

James said...

Thanks, Matt, for the update. We'll look forward to hearing your progress through the books. As I understand it, the revelation about there being no God comes at the end of the last book.

MattSmith said...

I just finished the trilogy and I loved it. There was the death of an angel, Metatron, at the end to save the life of a child and free people from being imprisoned in a "heaven" that was more like hell to be honest. When they were freed there spirits were free to join the skies and the real Heaven.

They were out to kill the "Authority" or the God figure and the little girl in the book because he wanted to stop the new version of Adam and Eve from happening. As a Christian I am glad Eve failed.. and in the book she failed again. This is the whole basis, besides Christ, of Christianity. Given the chance, we walk in the light. But there is always that temptation there and Christ saves us from it. No Eve, No Christ, No Christianity. I fail to see how this promotes Atheism.

Of course it could be a group of "follower" Christians that just want to hop on a band wagon and protest anything that promotes a different idea.

In the end of the book, there was no God, Metatron died because he was evil. But, in the end it also said they were to rebuild the Republic of Heaven.

Good Book, I'll read it to my kid some day.